A ‘Measured’ Critique

People enter a government-run employment office in Madrid.

Harsh criticisms meted out by Pope Francis on free market capitalism have sparked backlash from some fiscal conservatives and have led some people to call him “anti-capitalist” or even a Marxist. In anticipation of his apostolic visit to the United States in September, some are bracing for more criticisms from the pope, this time directed specifically at the culture and economy of the United States. Joseph Kaboski, a professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame and president of Credo, an international organization of Catholic economists, said, “As an individual, the pope probably views redistribution programs as a more effective way of tackling poverty than economic growth.” Kaboski said he views the pope “as neither pro- nor anti-capitalist, but instead a measured critic.” Kaboski said he is “confident Pope Francis finds much to commend” in U.S. economic life. At the same time, the pope “would also criticize the vast disparities in income and wealth...point to the poor in the inner cities, and argue that they are not fully participating in society,” Kaboski said.

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Mike Evans
3 years 3 months ago
The defenders of unfettered capitalism and centralized economic power naturally are afraid of "measured critique." Only in this case, the pope is measuring with a long and broad stick exposing the self-dealing and corrupt 1% for what they believe is their divine entitlement to the vast wealth of the earth. As Francis visits the barrios and slums housing people whose only line of work is sorting through the garbage of others, we are reminded of the pointed story of Dives and Lazarus where only the dogs lick the sores of the poor and abandoned. Measured indeed!
Joseph J Dunn
3 years 3 months ago
Kaboski's description of Pope Francis as a 'measured critic' of U.S. economic life seems to reflect a full reading of Laudato Si. Certainly there is criticism of the current world order, and many of the criticisms apply to business. Much of it also applies to our behavior as consumers, who drive the largest segment of the U.S. economy. But Pope Francis does acknowledge positive social contributions of well-run businesses: "In order to continue providing employment, it is imperative to promote an economy which favours productive diversity and business creativity... Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the areas in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good." (No. 129) This is an elaboration on a similar statement in "Joy of the Gospel." I am also struck by Francis's statement that Laudato Si now "adds to" the Church's social teaching. It does not displace the writings of Leo XIII who deplored socialism, nor John Paul II's writings, which reflect his experience with Communism. There is much to think about.

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